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Large Firm to Locate at Covington's RiverCenter, Add 100 Jobs in Building

An Alabama-based company is moving its core site to Covington's RiverCenter Tower, bringing with it 100 positions in 2021.

Protective Life plans a $17.1 million investment as it leases and retrofits 67,000 square feet in what is now known as Technology Tower I on RiverCenter Blvd near the riverfront. 

The Birmingham-based company was founded in 1907 and is now one of the largest insurance and financial services in the country.

As the company grows over the next decade, its leaders expect to more than double its employee count.

“As we build a better Kentucky, corporate headquarters and regional offices like Protective Life’s core site play a key role. They provide well-paying jobs, reinforce the vitality and attractiveness of our cities and leverage Kentucky’s geographic advantage at the intersection of the Midwest and South,” Governor Andy Beshear said in an announcement. “Further, this new location, its amenities and the community surrounding it provide Protective Life a path for long-term expansion and success. Congratulations to Protective Life, Corporex, which developed and owns the RiverCenter Towers, the City of Covington and Northern Kentucky on working together to locate this outstanding project in the commonwealth.”

Protective Life sees advantages in relocating to RiverCenter with its proximity to training, hotel, and conference space, as well as signage that will be visible from downtown Cincinnati.

“Protective Life has had a presence in the greater Cincinnati region for nearly 30 years, and as we look to the future with a focus on growth and scale, this relocation enables us to expand our workforce in the area and advance our ability to attract top talent, while exceeding both customer and employee expectations,” said Aaron Seurkamp, president of the retirement division at Protective Life and the company’s most senior executive in the greater Cincinnati region. “Both Kentucky and the City of Covington offer an appealing business environment for Protective Life, along with long-term growth opportunities and appealing amenities for our employees. We look forward to continued growth, community impact and partnership in this area.”

Protective Life has more than 11 million customers and has more than 3,000 employees across the country.

In October, the company announced that it would focus on the Cincinnati area, as well as Birmingham and St. Louis as its three core sites.

Acquired by Tokyo, Japan-based The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. in 2015, Protective Life joins nearly 200 Japanese-owned manufacturing, service and technology facilities currently operating in the commonwealth. Japanese-owned companies employ approximately 47,000 Kentucky residents, making it the state’s top international investor.

Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said the company will be a natural fit for the community.

“Protective is the perfect fit for our community. We’ve acted aggressively and strategically to partner with them to both sustain and accelerate Covington’s considerable momentum,” Meyer said.

Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann said the new location points to a positive direction for growth.

“I welcome Protective Life to Kenton County,” Judge/Executive Knochelmann said. “We’re thrilled to have new jobs and a new regional office location announcement in Northern Kentucky during a period of economic uncertainty in our country. Protective is demonstrating that the office market is still active.”

Lee Crume, president and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, said the project highlights the region’s attractiveness.

“We are grateful that Protective Life is establishing a new core site in Northern Kentucky and expanding in the Cincinnati region,” Crume said. “Having a leading insurance company commit to new high-paying jobs during a pandemic is a testament to the talent and amenities we have in Northern Kentucky.”

City of Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said the local culture provides a major selling point for growing companies.

“We’re told again and again that a critical differentiator for companies choosing The Cov is the cool vibe of our urban environment,” West said. “Protective’s decision to locate in Covington is yet more evidence that we have succeeded in attracting the diverse, talented and energetic workforce those companies are seeking.”

Managing Director of Corporex Companies Tom Banta shared his appreciation of the company choosing RiverCenter for its new location.

“We are pleased that RiverCenter will be the new home and provide for the continued growth for Protective Life,” said Banta. “Through a collaboration of the Governor, the City of Covington, Kenton County and Tri-ED, the community was able to pull together to retain this important regional operation.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $2.1 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $17.14 million and annual targets of:

  • Creation and maintenance of 77 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years
  • Over the 10-year program life, achieving an average hourly wage target of $47.50 for the new jobs

By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.

In addition, Protective Life can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.

-Staff report

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